Traffic Cams Come to the Rescue of State Budgets - GovernmentVideo.com

Traffic Cams Come to the Rescue of State Budgets

Several large states—and numerous local governments—are counting on revenue from traffic enforcement cameras to help relieve unprecedented shortfalls.
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States need to spend money, but where is it going to come from nowadays? Several large states—and numerous local governments—are counting on revenue from traffic enforcement cameras to help relieve unprecedented shortfalls.

So slow down in California: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has tried almost everything to solve the state’s $20 billion shortfall. His budget proposal figured California could rake in $337.9 million from automated speed enforcement revenue. (In addition, revenue would go to the camera operators.) The California program calls for using cameras at intersections to snag red-light runners, as well as folks who speed up to make it through green lights.

In New York, Gov. David Patterson faces a $7.4 billion shortfall, and his proposed budget calls for a work-zone speed-enforcement program to raise $21 million on 2010-11, $71 million in 2011-12, $38 million in 2012-13 and $23 million in 2013-14, for a four-year total of $153 million.

And in Indiana, a bill introduced Jan. 12 would create a statewide speed enforcement program with $300 fines for first offenders and $500 fines for repeat violators.

In Maryland last year, the state assembly passed legislation allowing local jurisdictions to set up speed enforcement cameras in school and road-work zones. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that work-zone enforcement cameras on the Interstates in Maryland snagged 8,745 drivers and issues $40 tickets—a total of $350,000 between the start of the program in November and the end of the year. Montgomery County, Md., adjacent to Washington, D.C., netted $18.6 million in seed camera revenue in Fiscal Year 2009 and forecasts $29.4 million in FY 2010, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

And Washington, D.C., collected $33.4 million in speed camera ticket revenue, AAA Mid-Atlantic says, plus more than $7.1 million from red-light cameras in FY 2009, which ended in September.

In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer has suggested letting a speed-enforcement program expire in July, but proposed a voter referendum on the matter in November. Arizona’s program was developed under the administration of then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, now the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

AAA estimated in December that nationwide, 400 jurisdictions operate red light camera programs and 48 jurisdictions operate speed cameras.

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Governments have reasons for deploying traffic enforcement cameras safety of motorists and pedestrians and raising local revenues, for example. Enforcement cams slash emissions as they reduce speeds, the UKSDC says. But across the Atlantic, the United Kingdom’s Sustainable Development Commission